Great Reads for Moms: The Summer ’11 Edition

Now that summer is coming to a close, I can get back to one of my favorite sections of our site and start sharing again our favorite book reviews. I read so many fabulous books this summer and I can’t wait to share a few of those with you.

I vowed I would tackle a million books this summer and would escape to our neighborhood pool with a stack of library books and lots of reading time.

I went to the pool once alone.  With one book. And took this one lame picture with my phone doing it.

Ah, maybe next year?

It was nice to take a break from the reviewing and just read for the pleasure of reading again.  I read a lot of great books and I am looking forward to sharing with you those reviews again this year and can’t wait to hear what you have been enjoying this summer too!

If you are looking for a little inspiration this new year, be sure to check our MomAdvice fan page for a weekly check-in on what everyone is reading each week on our Facebook Fan Page. I hope you will swing by on Fridays and share about the books you are working on or request recommendations with one another. So far it is a huge success and I have gotten a few new ideas for my own stack!

Just as a reminder, I read many more books than are just featured here, but try to feature the ones that are my absolute best picks of the month here. If you want to read more, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! My username is momadvice and I am always happy to connect with people there too! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the very last page what is happening, then I have the book for you.  This is the best thriller that I have read this year and can hardly believe that it is the author’s first book.

Every single day Christine wakes up not knowing who she is, where she is, and who her husband is.  It is the same scenario every day as she makes her way to the bathroom, where pictures are layered upon the mirror that explain who she is and who her husband is. Each day she must go through the heartbreaking discovery that she has had a terrible accident that has caused her to have permanent amnesia. People she thinks are alive have died.  She can’t remember if she is a mother. She doesn’t know why she doesn’t have any friends. Some days she wakes up and she believes she is in her twenties and cannot even recognize the woman who looks at her in the mirror.

When Christine begins meeting with a doctor, he encourages her to begin journaling each day to help jog her memory of what has been happening in her daily life. As each day opens, Christine opens her journal and begins to read and as she reads, she begins to discover that the life that she is leading might not be all that it seems to be.  As Christine becomes more and more aware of her story and begins to challenge the information that her husband is feeding to her about what has happened, the reader is left wondering if Christine is obsessing about details because she can’t really recall them or if the stories she is hearing are even real?

If you read one thriller this year, let it be this one. I promise you, it is truly amazing and will leave you stunned when you read the final pages.  I can’t wait to read more from this author.

If you liked this book you might like: Room, Still Missing, & Fragile

(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

There are few authors that deliver consistently good books with amazing plotlines, but Diane Chamberlain is one of those authors for me.

Noelle, Tara, and Emerson have been best friends since college. When Noelle unexpectedly commits suicide, Tara and Emerson are left with trying to figure out the puzzle pieces as to why she would do something like this to herself especially when she loved her job as a midwife so much. Noelle never seemed depressed and it was the last thing that her two best friends would ever expect her to do.

When they discover an unfinished letter written to a woman named Anna apologizing to her, they are left wondering just how well they knew their friend Noelle and have to begin pulling together the clues to the secrets that Noelle had been hiding for so long from everyone that she loved. Everything from Noelle’s past to her career to her true relationship with the other characters in the book comes into play as the women learn more about Noelle’s secrets.  Tara and Emerson discover that Noelle had more secrets than they could ever imagine… secrets that could threaten the very core of their lives and the lives of others.

This book is a fabulous mystery with a great family drama woven throughout and each chapter is told from alternating viewpoints from the women themselves and Tara & Emerson’s daughters, who are dealing with their own emotions surrounding the death of Noelle.

The ending will take you by surprise and I guarantee that this is a book that you will not be able to put down until the final pages.

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

If you liked this book you might like: These Things Hidden, The Good Daughters, & Fragile

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Faith is a masterpiece of literature that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The novel does have a slow build as it shares a bit about the history and the scandal of 2002 when many Boston priests were accused of molestation in the Catholic Church, but the story is worth the plot set up and is a book that you will want to share and discuss with your friends.

Art is the apple of his mother’s eye and is wholly committed to dedicating his life to God from the time he is a child and on. He lovingly serves his church and feels great satisfaction in his work as a priest. When suddenly he is thrust into the spotlight and is accused of molesting a child that he has grown close to through his work in the church, he is devastated as his life is under scrutiny by the media, by other church members, by other priests, and by his family.

While some in his family side with him, others do not. When shocking discoveries are made into his past and the relationship that he has had with the little boy, the reader must examine which side they might be on and see both sides of the coin as his family comes to terms with these accusations. How would you feel if your son, your brother, or the person you trusted in your church was accused of such an act? Could you stand beside them or would you shun them even if they told you they would never do such a thing?

Haigh’s writing is exquisitely rich and the story is told through a fresh set of eyes from the scandal that we witnessed in the media.  Haigh brings in an angle that led me to believe that there truly are two sides to every story.

This book would lend itself well to any book club discussions you might be having and was truly one of the best books that I read this summer!

(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)

If you liked this book you might like: Red Hook Road, Every Last One, Let the Great World Spin, & To Kill a Mockingbird

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

If you are looking for a great love story with a whole bunch of laugh-out-loud humor in it, then head to your library and pick up this gem of a book. In full disclosure, I do not read Ree’s blog regularly, do not have her cookbook, and never read the story of how she met Malboro Man before, but I ate this book up with a spoon. My poor husband found me with a stack of tissues as I read about their courtship and marriage to the love of her life.

A chance encounter at a bar finds Ree out with her friends enjoying a quick drink when she spots a cowboy across the room that takes her breath away. After a brief meeting and weeks of waiting for him to call her, he finally does and so begins their whirlwind courtship. This city girl, born and bred, finds herself head over heels in love with a cowboy and brings into focus what really matters in life. Embracing the simple life of the quiet evenings spent on the porch rather than out about town and fumbling her way through the kitchen, it is so sweet to see how the two of them fall in love with one another. The book chronicles the story of their courtship all the way through their first year of marriage. As Ree learns the ins and outs of the cowboy life, you will have a hard time not laughing as she weaves that self-depreciating humor that has become her signature style!

This tender love story had great elements of humor throughout that made this book a fun and lighthearted read. The book was a bit choppy in the beginning, as the story had been shared through blog entries and did not translate as well into book format, but it evened itself out and offered a sweeping ending that will have you laughing and crying at the same time.

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

If you liked this book you might like: The Dirty Life, True Colors, & Fireworks over Toccoa

Not enough great reads for you? Check out our Books section of our site for monthly recommendations and ideas for making reading a priority again in your busy mom life!

Disclosure: All of the links above are affiliate links and are provided so you can locate the books quickly and easily. Feel free to order a book, but we encourage utilizing the library system and buying me a latte instead.  Then we both would be really happy and we could have our own little book club together! Wouldn’t that just be so much more lovely? Happy Reading!

What has been in your book stack this month? Feel free to share your book recommendations or feedback on any of the books that have been mentioned above! I love getting new suggestions for my book pile!

Published August 23, 2011 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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